Panagia, Davide. “The Photographs Tell It All” [Epilogue]

Panagia, Davide. The Political Life of Sensation. Durham And London, Duke University Press, 2009.

The world is a mobile texture of these distinctions between seen and seeing objects. It is the stuff in which the inner folding, unfolding and refolding takes place which makes vision possible between things. –Michel de Certeau

To remember:

  • [Kant’s] disinterested interest that one disposes toward an aesthetic object (150).
  • “the photographs tell it all” neither because they are self-sufficient artifacts not because they are present visible elements of what is seeable … but because they present that which is not visible and yet palpable in an appearance (150).
  • organolepsis [:] the correspondences between perception and signification … the manner in which the external world impacts our lives and … compels a reconfiguration of our perceptual competencies (151).
  • politics is the activity of rendering perceptible those heterological elements that had previously been insensible (151).
  • recognition implies an established context or field of reference that would act as a perceptual banner of perceptual orientation (151).
  • the experience of sensation that arises from the impact of an appearance is such that it disfigures or disarticulates those organoleptic assurances that would make recognition possible (151).
  • the force of an appearance and its presentation upon us does not require or expect a justification. An appearance advenes at me (not for me) and at best, my response can be one of admission (151)
  • If, then, politics begins with the advenience of an appearance–with the rendering perceptible of a previously insensible–it is compelling to consider how we face up to appearances when their singularity affronts our particularities (153).
  • As political life continues to be more and more complicit in acts of image-creation and transmission, it becomes increasingly urgent that we engage the strategies of perceptual competence that allow appearances to count as sensible (153).
  • the advenience of an appearance is a political event not because it is meaningful but because it acts upon our perceptual competencies and invites a turning of our attentions and a reconfiguration of those correspondences that mediate our worldly interactions (154).

To consume:

  • More Immanuel Kant
  • Barthes, Image, Music, Text


  • I wonder if Barthes might argue that “[photos] present that which is not visible and yet palpable in an appearance” cannot be a sweeping generalization. Thinking of his “air” and “Look.” Perhaps this is a possibility, but not a guarantee? Can photos fail at this presentation? Want to think more about this …
  • So … organolepsis [and/or advenience of an appearance] as intra-action?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s